Tumor as Horror
As it’s Halloween, and I’m waiting for some eggs to cool off for deviled egg making, I thought I should probably update, as it’s been so long. Well, much to my surprise, I opened my laptop, cruised through Bloglines and found an article over on MTV’s Splash Page about their scariest comic books ever. Halfway down, nestled between the works of some guys named Gaiman and Moore, was this:
“ELK’S RUN” by Joshua Hale Fialkov (W) and Noel Tuazon (A) — Villard Books
This graphic novel mines its goosebumps almost entirely by keeping the story’s momentum in a constant tailspin after focusing early on on the endangered children in Fialkov’s script who become mice in a frighteningly imaginable small-town horror story.
While I was busy fanning myself from my ecstatic yelping at the flattery, I realized something about Tumor that I haven’t actually expressed. The original concept for the book, at it’s heart, was a horror story. I tend to spend a lot of time in the early stages of the creative process coming up with ideas that have some sort of personal resonance, for obvious reasons. It’s a helluva lot easier to write about white you know and fear than it is to pick something random out of a hat (ooh! he’s scared of elevators! let’s do something with that!).
There’s very little that I can think of than being worse than my mind leaving me. While my hands are the conduit, and my eyes and ears encouragers who with the loss of any would certainly make what I do, and love, much harder to do, at the end of the day, without the ability to think and dream and imagine, I’m nothing.
I’ve suffered from severe headaches off and on for the past several years. Tumor was conceived before they really took over a good chunk of my life. I began writing it not too long after. As many of you probably have never had a true migraine, I figured I’d give a little bit of a sense of what it’s like.
Your brain has purchased a jackhammer which it’s using to drill a hole through your face and it accidentally got a bit of itself in the way. Literally the only thought capable of passing through your mind is, “Please God, make it stop.” They’re so terrible that I find myself taking my medication at even the tiniest inkling of one, because while the medicine makes me feel lousy the next day, a migraine makes me feel lousy for a week.
Now, you take that and you throw me in the middle of a murder mystery wherein I may or may not be the murderer… Yowsers. Probably the earliest version of the script was something along the lines of an even more oblique Barton Fink. But, as happens with writing, as I worked on the story, I realized that no external force is as strong as the internal struggle that a character has to go through. So, by having Frank’s ailment parallel to some degree his predicament, being tossed into a world of gray, where everyone is a bad guy including the good guys, really just clicked.
That being said, I think the book still has a bit of the horror style in terms of pacing and structure, but, that’s sort of just the way I write. I love telling stories where you reveal information in the tiniest dabs you can to continuously build suspense and mystery, and that, more than blood, werewolves, and vampires is what makes great horror for me.
This was a bit more rambling than I intended so feel free to ask any questions below.